Source: Architectural Digest

Mid Century Modern Decorating on a Budget Made Easy with These Ideas

This post is all about Mid Century Modern Decorating on a Budget.

Mid Century Modern design is one of the most timeless interior design styles that are loved and favored by people everywhere. Tenants of mid century modern design focus on sleek lines, material and modern sensibilities that were popularized in the 60’s. 

Markers of mid century modern furniture style can be identified by dark wood, tapered furniture legs, and modern sleek lines. Mid century style also incorporates nature and focuses on the function over form. Decades later, midcentury modern design continues to reign and is still reproduced on a large scale by many retailers. Large furniture companies like West Elm, Pottery Barn and CB2 have reproduced furniture like media consoles, coffee tables or dressers that match traditional mid century modern style.

Luckily, mid century modern design  is one of the easiest styles to replicate on a budget as the design is ubiquitous and can be found universally. True vintage mid century modern furniture can be costly at times because they’re rare and highly sought after. Vintage mid century pieces are considered family heirlooms that are passed down through generations. However, deals can be found on pieces in antique shops, or online secondhand marketplaces like Ebay or 1stDibs. Yet still, antiques like these can come with a hefty price tag and require long laborious searches. 

A more budget-friendly way of finding mid century modern style is to look at sites with reproduction pieces, and to add in smaller, less costly vintage pieces. Read on for our budget tips and tricks for mid century decorating ideas.

Here are Mid Century Modern Decorating on a Budget ideas.


1. Mid Century Chairs

One of the easiest things to thrift or score secondhand is mid century modern chairs. Chairs are one of the most affordable furniture pieces to purchase. MCM chairs are often designed by famed product designers. Designers like Ray Eames and Marcel Bruer are known for their iconic chair designs. Today, licensed reproductions of these chairs can be found on Design Within Reach but they aren’t cheap. Luckily, many retailers have taken design notes from these pieces at more affordable prices. And don’t knock estate sales or antique shops either – these places can be prime spots for scoring original MCM pieces at a much lower price point.

Make sure to keep your rug centered to your bed to create a visual anchor for the room.

2. Bar Carts

If you’ve ever seen the TV show “Mad Men”, then you know that cocktail culture was a huge part of the mid century era. Antique bar carts made of chrome or wood were super popular and can look quite stylish in a den or library. Not only are they stylish to look at, but are also quite functional and a great place to store your drinkware.

3. Vintage Drinkware

Speaking of drinkware – cocktail glasses and other kinds of vintage drinkware are perfect for scoring cheaply in thrift stores. Whether it be martinis, gimlets or a gin fizz – there’s a vintage glass set for everyone’s tastes. Etsy can be an affordable place to find unique sets of glassware.

4. Record Player 

What’s more retro than a record player? Playing music on a turntable sounds so much better than your typical speaker set-up and provides more of an eclectic vibe. If you’re an avid collector, a record player media console is the perfect place to store records and to show off your music taste. These furniture pieces are so stylishly chic and make for great pieces in a den or living room. 

5. Wood Furniture with Tapered Legs 

One of the hallmarks of Mid Century modern furniture is dark stained furniture with tapered legs. This look is classic and streamlined and will never go out of style. However you can easily find new furniture with this same look. Many retailers have copied these design details in new furniture pieces.

6. Noguchi-esque Paper Lanterns

Those familiar with famous 60’s designs can immediately recognize the paper lanterns that made Isamu Noguchi one of the most famous artists of the 20th century. Noguchi’s paper lanterns are infamous in design and have made a huge comeback in interiors as of late. The soft organic shapes and the paper material make these lamps both design-forward yet still affordable. Copies of these lamps can be found at many retailers for a very little cost. Add a paper lantern pendant or even a table lamp version to add an organic accent.

7. Martini Table 

What is more mid century than a martini table? A martini table or side table is a great furniture piece that is functional, has beautiful form, and can be very affordable. Usually these tiny tables have thin legs and are placed near sofas to add a functional place to hold drinks while seated. Textured metal side tables like the one above add unique visual interest and marry form with mid century modern aesthetics.

8. Throw Pillows 

Throw pillows might be one of the easiest and cheapest ways to redecorate on a budget. Pillows can be found everywhere for cheap. Some of the best places to shop for throw pillows are Target and HomeGoods for their prices and varieties of styles. The best part about adding throw pillows to your bed or sofa is that they’re easy to switch out seasonally or when your tastes change. Adding in new throw pillows will instantly refresh your room or space. Throw pillows with large geometric prints and bold colors immediately scream mid century style and look great together. 

9. Vintage Ashtrays

You definitely don’t have to be a smoker to enjoy a vintage ashtray! Vintage ashtrays can make for a great catch-all dish to hold jewelry, loose change or other small collections of items. Vintage ashtrays are often beautifully designed and can be very distinctive, sometimes showcasing materials like marble, glass or are graphically designed. Vintage ashtrays can be found for near pennies at antique shops and are such a bargain decor item.

10. Vintage or Vintage-inspired Vases

During the mid twentieth century, there was an explosion of creative art that marked this time period. Decor art pieces like vases or sculptural ceramics were being produced at a rapid rate, and thus you’ll find inspiration from these artists even today. Glass pieces like Italian Murano vases are gorgeous and add color to any room. Ceramic vases made by artists are also prevalent. Vintage or vintage-inspired vases can be found everywhere and are an affordable way to add mid century design and style to your decor.

11. Wall Art

Mid Century inspired wall art is one way to easily and affordably decorate your home. Wall art or paintings in bold colors and geometric patterns are often characterized as mid century modern. One simple way to DIY wall art is by framing a vintage patterned fabric onto a canvas. Another great idea is to source unique prints on Etsy, and frame it yourself! However if DIY projects are not your thing, there’s plenty of great online shops that offer beautiful wall art.

12. Vintage Clock 

Retro clocks are so beautiful and distinctly mid century style. If you have a blank wall in a room, and you’d like to add a mid century element, consider sourcing a 1960’s clock for bold yet functional wall art. Retro clocks like the one pictured above come in all kinds of bold shapes and colors. They can be sourced new and used and are bound to make a statement. 

13. Table and Floor Lamps

Table and floor lamps from decades past are great decor items for a mid century style home. Vintage lamps are classic-looking and add lovely layered lighting to a space. There are so many different styles of lamps to choose such as traditional-looking lamps with shades, or more modern- table task lighting. You are sure to find one that fits your style!

14. Rugs

Rugs are accents in a room that should not be forgotten. They add color and texture to a space and add a finishing touch. Vintage rugs look best when they look eclectic with global patterns and bold colors. These kinds of small vintage rugs are perfect for small spaces like hallways, closets or bathrooms. Larger-scale rugs can become costly so one way to make this trend more affordable is by focusing on smaller rugs, and layering them together.

15. House Plants

Lastly, house plants are a very budget-friendly way to add color and life into your space. Every interior space needs greenery to complete a space. Plants were very pervasive in interior design in the twentieth century and remain the same today. Plants can be found within any budget at nurseries or plant shops all over. Add plants in hanging macrame plant hangers or in vintage ceramic pots. And the more unique the better – layer in all varieties of plants for an eclectic look. 

Mid century modern decorating on a budget is very achievable either through either purchasing secondhand or by purchasing reproduction pieces from current retailers. As continues to be a beloved style, reproductions are produced that are highly inspired by mid century design, but for more reasonable costs.  As you can see, mid century modern style is a classic, timeless design style that is here to stay. 


Some of the links in this article are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase. See our full disclaimer here.